The Connection Between Farmers & Charitable Feeding

Caroline's Reflections and conversation from behind the bar at the Ugly Food Farmer Panel.

It's basically a fact that local food conversation pairs well with a local beer. The Ugly Food Farmer's Panel was no different - attendees sipped on an assortment of craft brews donated by Fargo's own Drekker Brewing Company while discussing the different farming practices used in our area. As the entry way to the Rourke began to fill, the growlers began to empty, and conversation took a turn towards agriculture. The 70-minute panel discussion touched on many farming issues such as the use of conventional farming techniques, food policy and nutrition, and consumer responsibility (Check out the full event recap blog here). Yet, I found the most intriguing conversation came to me from behind the bar. 

As a social servant working to end hunger (I currently work as the volunteer coordinator for the Great Plains Food Bank), I jumped at the opportunity to speak with two attendees, Nick and Lindsay, who also work within the charitable feeding network. It was no easy task juggling my duties as drink-server extraordinaire and maintaining a conversation about food justice, but no one went thirsty on my watch! We discussed the importance of nutrition when addressing food insecurity and how charitable feeding is trending towards incorporating nutritional policy.

According to Feeding America, almost two-thirds of food pantry clients use their services on a monthly basis, resulting in an ethical obligation for these organizations to provide healthy food to clients.

Food banks acquire most of their donations through industrial food donors, so as the food industry becomes less wasteful, a decline in shelf-stable charitable food donations is inevitable. Therefore, it is important for food banks and pantries to develop relationships with local farmers in order feed clients with healthy foods. The future of charitable feeding is starting to look local, fresh, and maybe even a bit ugly!

Join Ugly Food of the North to learn more about the area's charitable feeding network, the Great Plains Food Bank on Tuesday, April 5 at 5:30 p.m. for a tour and volunteer opportunity. Click here to RSVP and additional details.